The participants acknowledged the value of ministerial support and engagement throughout preparations for the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11), to be held in December 2017 in Buenos Aires. Building on the momentum created by the WTO’s successful ministerial conferences in Bali (2013) and Nairobi (2015), participants called for concrete results to be delivered at MC11 which represent incremental steps forward.
Speaking after the meeting, Director-General Azevêdo said:
“A continuing dialogue amongst ministers through events like this is essential, so I welcome Norway’s initiative in convening the meeting. Regular ministerial engagement allows for more focused discussions and will provide the necessary political direction for delegations in Geneva. I welcome the commitment of participants to maintain this support and engagement in the lead up to the 11th Ministerial Conference so that members can deliver concrete results.
“Many issues were raised in Oslo, reflecting the ongoing debate in Geneva. A number of agriculture issues were discussed, including domestic support, cotton and public stockholding. Many recalled that development should remain in the centre of WTO’s work and that LDC issues should be prioritized. A range of other issues were also raised, including fisheries subsidies, domestic regulation in services, services facilitation, services market access, investment facilitation, non-tariff barriers, e-commerce and SMEs. Given the range of issues raised, representatives in Oslo stressed the importance of proponents providing the impetus behind the issues that they want to take forward.
“This discussion will provide useful inputs for the ongoing conversations in Geneva, where WTO members are working to determine the way forward.”
The chair of the meeting, Minister Brende, pledged to circulate a summary of the discussions to the wider WTO membership.
Side meeting on the Environmental Goods Agreement
A side-meeting of those WTO members participating in the negotiations on an Environmental Goods Agreement also took place in Oslo. Participants committed to redoubling their efforts in Geneva in order to conclude the deal by the end of the year.